If you are considering setting up an internal coaching pool, you need to give serious consideration to three specific challenges.
We have just embarked on a leadership development programme involving one of our client’s internal coaching pool that we believe delivers on all three of these challenges.
The Random House Group is one of the largest general book publishing companies in the UK. Comprising five publishing companies - Cornerstone Publishing, Vintage Publishing, Ebury Publishing, Random House Children's Publishers UK and Transworld Publishers, the Group boasts more than 40 diverse and highly respected imprints. At the moment, the publishing environment is changing at a rapid rate of knots, transformed by the advent of online and digital.
Doing things differently
Random House wants to empower its leaders to take them through this transformational period and seize this opportunity, rather than be sidelined by the change. Two years ago, as a key step in offering more strategic support to senior managers, the company established a pool of internal coaches. The 25 people who were selected all had the desire and aptitude to take on this coaching role, well aware that it would require time, commitment and motivation.
At the end of last year, Tinder-Box was invited to tender for a leadership programme of Random House’s top 150 senior managers. Having won the pitch, we have devised a leadership programme designed to develop the confidence and skill of these leaders, focusing especially on leading teams through change and driving innovation. The programme consists of four modules:
- Leading Teams
- Leading Change/ Driving Innovation
- A pioneering Enterprise module (which will bring the previous three modules together by working with the leaders from a social enterprise to make real and sustainable changes).
The plan is that coaching will be a key support mechanism for people on the programme to create real change back in the business after each module and the coaching will be carried out by the internal coaching pool.
How it works
The group of 150 programme attendees has been divided into cadres of 20-25 and each cadre will undertake all four modules over a six to eight month period, with a break between each one where they will be able to apply what they have learned to their work – which is where the coaching support comes in.
Each internal coach will be assigned one or two programme members to coach and will spend in the region of ten hours with each person across the programme. The programme has been devised in this very structured way to ensure that the coaches have the capacity to carry out their coaching role effectively alongside their regular day job and also to allow for ongoing quality control.
Normally Tinder-Box would undertake all the coaching on a programme such as this and Random House is being ambitious to take on so much of it ‘in-house’ on such a grand scale. There are many benefits to this approach; the programme will provide the opportunity to deepen the impact and enhance the experience of the coaches, as well as clearly making economic sense for Random House as they are using all the resources available to them.
Taking it forward
Part of the challenge is how to ensure the coaches are ready to meet this ambition i.e. that the internal coaches have the confidence, skills and experience to support the leaders on this strategic programme.
The role of the Tinder-Box team (who are all Professional Certified Coaches (PCC) level credentialed with the International Coach Federation (ICF)), therefore also becomes one of support of the development and execution of the coaching by the internal coaching on the programme.
In terms of the first step, Tinder-Box will hold a short refresher course and explain the rules of engagement for the programme, as well as some of the key tools that will be used throughout, such as EQi psychometric reports and 360 feedback reports.
Each module will also be followed by a debrief for the internal coaches to review their experience, share lessons, learn new skills and go forward knowing what they need to do.
Finally, some of the internal coaches may also wish to pursue some sort of externally recognised coaching credentials – and this opportunity to gain professional recognition can be a powerful motivator for internal coaches. For those who are keen to progress via this route, we will be supervising these coaches as part of the formal accreditation process.
It’s live. Now what?
The programme went ‘live’ at the end of March and there is a real buzz of excitement, not only amongst the programme participants but also with the internal coaches. It is already becoming apparent that some people taking part in the leadership programme are also going to want to become internal coaches themselves – so this again is a fabulous way of developing the internal coaching pool further.
Tinder-Box will be tracking the success of the programme via a range of metrics around the impact of the programme and also the coaches, so we look forward to the opportunity to share these results at the right time.
In their own words...
Transworld’s Marketing Director, Janine Giovanni, explains why she was keen to become an internal coach:
“I had personally experienced the benefits of coaching and wanted to help others have the same positive experience. It‘s hard to learn new skills, such as coaching ‘on the job’ alongside a demanding full time role, so to have the opportunity to do that and add real value to the business is REALLY SMART!”
The Marketing Director for Ebury, Diana Riley:
“This is a terrific opportunity to embed a coaching culture in the business. We also find it incredibly motivating that the organisation has the confidence in us - and is willing to invest in our continued development as coaches - as part of this programme.”
Article reproduced with kind permission from ‘Coaching at Work’